The Cowboys’ All-Pro running back has one year remaining on his contract, but with the team having an easy fifth-year option decision coming, Elliott may be in a tough spot. Dallas has a host of extension-eligible players, five of whom — DeMarcus Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper and Byron Jones and Jaylon Smith— either a franchise tag candidate or entering a contract year. Elliott having two years of team control left may move him to the back of the re-up queue, despite Dallas brass’ goal of signing him long-term.
An Elliott holdout will be a risk, sources told Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the longer this drags on this offseason. With the Cowboys having no incentive to pay Elliott now, there may be more noise on this front as the offseason unfolds.
While Gurley received his extension with two years remaining on his contract, Elliott is also in the same position Aaron Donald was in 2017. Donald held out and missed the Rams’ first two games en route to defensive player of the year acclaim.
Elliott, 23, is due $3.58MM in 2019. His fifth-year option would come in north of $10MM in 2020. But Gurley’s four-year, $57.5MM deal altered the market. With Elliott winning rushing titles in both of the seasons in which he was a full Cowboys participant, the leverage he will have is removing himself from an offense dependent on his talents.
The Cowboys stand to hold more than $54MM in cap space and have taken care of three Elliott blockers, the most recent coming with Zack Martin‘s guard-record contract in 2018. Considering Elliott’s importance to the team, usage rate and the non-Gurley running backs’ position within the NFL salary landscape, a holdout would certainly make sense to see if the Cowboys would buckle and pay him this year rather than in 2020.
A Lawrence holdout also may be on the horizon, per Hill. Although, this could be expected given that the Cowboys may franchise him again. Lawrence signed his tender immediately last year and attended Cowboys offseason workouts, however.
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